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Hi-Line Athlete Profile: L'Tia Lawrence, Harlem Girls Basketball

Together, L'Tia Lawrence and the Wildcats continue to rise


December 12, 2018

Colin Thompson

Harlem junior L'Tia Lawrence, left, puts up a shot during last week's Native American Classic at the Armory Gymnasium. Lawrence burst onto the scene as a freshman, and has gotten better with each season. The Harlem girls have also been on the rise during Lawrence' time on the court, coming within one game of reaching the Class B state tournament last season.

Over the past few seasons, the Harlem girls basketball team has been building something special, and one player who has played as big a role in that as anyone else is junior guard L’Tia Lawrence.

Lawrence is a two-time All-Conference performer and last season, she was a big part of a Wildcat's revival that saw them ranked as high as No. 2 in the state at one point last season. For her part in that run, Lawrence earned All-State honors in Class B, as well as being named to the second straight All Hi-Line team. However, her only focus leading up to this season was more team success.

“We had a pretty good season last year,” Lawrence said. “But we want to try and go farther and do better than we did last year and I think that we have the team that we can do that.”

Last weekend, the Wildcats opened their season at the Native American Classic and when they did so, they had a new head coach, which just happens to be L’Tia’s farther, Marlin Lawrence. Last season, Lawrence was an assistant to head coach Laramie Schwenke and when she left for a graduate assistant position at Idaho State, he took over the reins and also became his daughter’s head coach.

Marlin Lawrence has been coaching his daughter in the Harlem school system since she was in middle school. And last season, both father and daughter were part of one of Harlem’s biggest wins of the basketball court in years, as the Wildcats upset second-ranked Poplar. That win helped the Wildcats rack up 16 wins leading up to the Northern B Divisional tournament, where their season came to a close.

While Lawrence has excelled on the basketball court, she also is one of the top runners in Class B, and as a freshman, she placed second at state for the Wildcats in the 1,600-meter run in 2017. Lawrence also finished in the top 10 in both the 1,600 and the 3,200 at the state last season in addition to running cross country for the Wildcats.

“I do enjoy running,” Lawrence said. “But I do it mostly to stay in shape for basketball. That is my first love.”

With two seasons of high school basketball left to play in Harlem, there are big things in store for Lawrence and the Wildcats. However, she and teammates like Skylee Dirden are hoping to make some noise in Class B this season and with that in mind, here are five questions from when the Havre Daily News caught up with Lawrence.

HDN: What’s it like getting a chance to play in the Native American Classic?

Lawrence: “It’s really fun. A lot of people go there and it’s exciting to play there, especially with my team.”

HDN: “What has it been like having your dad as the head coach?

Lawrence: “I don’t think things have changed that much. He was the assistant coach last year, so I think everyone is used to him. But it has gone really well.”

HDN: What is your relationship like with your dad as father and daughter, as well as coach and player?

Lawrence: “As father and daughter we are really close. As player and coach, he is not afraid to chew me out sometimes. He is maybe a little harder me on, but he’s my dad so I kind of expect that.”

HDN: So how did you first get into basketball?

Lawrence: “I fell in love with the game at a young age, but my father has always been there with tremendous support. He has coached me for a long time and I have been playing around the same group of girls since I was little.”

HDN: What are your goals for this season?

Lawrence: “I want to make it to the state tournament. We didn’t do that last year and we want to get to that level. We have worked really hard this summer and in the offseason, and I know we have the team to do it.”


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